Let’s play a Collaborative Alternate Reality Game – with a new PhD as epic win!


Hi Judith,

Yesterday I submitted my proposal to fund my PhD research. That is like ‘reading the tutorial or the how to’ before playing the game. Funding is needed so that the two days that I will be ‘playing’ can be filled in with an excellent substitution. The Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) grants 90 teachers of all kinds of education in 2014 a grant to the organization they work for to be used as substitution for (the maximum of) two working days. In this way they are trying to stimulate the educational workforce of the Netherlands to grow experience in scientific research, which of course is great.

And after my Homeric journey to find the right place and the right team to do my PhD research I finally can start to ‘play’ now. Still I have to wait if I get to the next round (a presentation for a committee) but a start has been made and that’s a lot. The road to my proposal is like reading the tutorial or how to play of a game. My professor (Prof. Dr. Anna Beurskens a.k.a. Sandra Beurskens) and my daily supervisor (dr. Huibert Tange) have worked with me for the several months to make this proposal a good one. On that road I saw the borders of my playing board change, the rules of play changed, the players pieces got their preliminary form and colors. The feedback system is defined. We just have to play a lot to make the game mechanics perfect.

It is a collaborate alternate reality game that we are going to play. I am assembling a team of heroes (like Marvel’s X-men) with superpowers that going to accompany me on the road to my PhD. You will be on that team to as every reader of this blogpost potentially is. Like in the Marvel comics there is a team that is in the picture (most of) the time and there will be heroes that will come to the rescue in one or more episodes. The team is on a epic journey where they will work together to complete missions (collaborate). Points in the virtual game world are won by achieving results in the real world. Tasks needed to become a PhD (e.g. making a scoping literature review, building a design, getting to be published, …) are awarded with points, credits in the virtual world. Correcting my work will get you +100 in reflection power for instance. How this game is going to work? Well I am playing it to learn it. It’s like the 1000 cards game evolving itself during the game. But that will be the fun part.

And the PhD research itself? Grin 😉 The title of my proposal to the NWO is:

 Collaborative alternate reality gaming: new possibilities to stimulate physical activity in a care setting.

And the English summary was:

In general people have insufficient physical activity, especially among mentally fragile groups. One cause is their massive use of computer games. Yet, specific computer games exist that stimulate physical activity. Collaborative games and alternate reality games hold new promises for this purpose. The goal of this study is to explore how the principles of these games can be applied in healthcare. To this end, a pilot game will be developed and tested on usability and feasibility. A systematic user-centered design is employed.

That’s all for now…

The rest will be available after a quest or two 🙂

With kind regards,

Marcel Schmitz

Geplaatst op 12 maart 2014, in 2 B PhD JAMS, Daily Experiences, Gaming, SuperBetter, Zorg. Markeer de permalink als favoriet. Een reactie plaatsen.

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